Sergio Pamies – What Brought You Here?
(Bebyne Records CD8018. CD review by Peter Jones)
Born in Granada, Spain, currently resident in Dallas, Texas, Sergio Pamies is a pianist who brings both his Spanish heritage and his classical training to bear on this, his largely self-penned third album. Pamies is also an accomplished arranger, with a sophisticated ear, who seems able to turn his hand to any style or instrumental lineup. The vibe is mostly mainstream jazz, but with a strong latin element. No fewer than 23 other musicians are featured in various combinations.
The title track appears in three guises – as a solo piano melody at the start, as a trio piece about halfway through, and as a lush soprano sax feature with viola, cello, vibes and a latin percussion section to close the album.
The beboppish Our Man Andrew (based on Our Man Higgins from Lee Morgan’s Cornbread album) refers to drummer Andrew Griffith, whose busy brushes punctuate the syncopated horn riffs on the intro, and there are brash, confident solos from tenorman Quamon Fowler and Pamies himself.
Curiously, I Get A Kick Out Of You is divided across two tracks: first the verse, sung by Ashleigh Smith, backed by acoustic piano, then the song proper, partly reharmonized, with electric piano and more latin percussion, that hits its groove as the blowing section turns into a samba.
For me the latin material is most interesting, particularly El Hijo de la Portuguesa, with the clear flamenco influence in its chordal flourishes and stamping rhythm. Brad Kang shines with his electric guitar soloing here. The sweet ballad Faltando Um Pedaco features Young Heo on acoustic bass; Pamies plays the tune on melodica, doubling with Daniel Pardo’s flute, before Lara Bello comes in on vocals.
If I had any criticism at all of this otherwise very enjoyable album, it would be that the selection is a little too varied, lacking an overall style, as if Pamies has simply gathered up various recordings made at various times and put them all out together.